Does joy come easily for me? I think for some it does. For me? Not so much. I have to work at it.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
I’ve admitted before I’m a bit of a melancholy person. I don’t think I was always this way. I see photos from my childhood where I’m dancing and singing. A happy child. I hesitate to share this part of why I think I am the way I am. It’s not the only reason of course, but I think it gives some insight.
Just a few months before I turned eleven my grandfather died of cancer. He was the sort of grandfather that hung the moon. He gave me my love of music. I can barely remember sitting with him at his old upright piano playing Beethoven’s Fur Elise for him. Losing a dear grandparent at that age is tough.
Then just two months later, a month before my eleventh birthday, my mother was diagnosed with Chron’s disease. She would spend the next 3 years in and out of the hospital undergoing countless surgeries to save her life. Being the oldest child, I took on more responsibilities and felt I had to be the strong one.
We were well taken care of and loved by our family and friends, but for a child with an already melancholy bent and throw in the tumultuous becoming a teenager in the midst of it all, life was very serious. I think subconsciously I began to expect the next serious situation. No one is to blame for any of that or how it effected me. It is what it is.
I think though it explains, at least in part, why it has taken me into my adult years to discover joy.
I’ve learned though as I’ve grown into adulthood. I’ve learned to see the world through different eyes. Seeing the delight in your child’s eyes at the simplest of things. The care free spirit of a little child can change you. I see God working and I know joy is not a circumstantial thing.
As I’ve written before, many times people will think I’m sad when I’m not. I have joy. But it takes work.
For me finding joy takes a daily renewing of my mind, my thoughts. If I let myself focus on the news and negativity we find everywhere I can’t find the joy.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
After this past year and all God has and is teaching me, finding joy is even more a longing of my heart. I throw myself into Eucharisteo. As he prepares me for whatever it is in His plans. Remembering grace. Looking for even the smallest gifts He gives. Giving thanks. Through it all knowing I will continue finding joy.